It is undoubtably a word you will hear the most around these parts, and for good reason, research is the single most important thing a startup can conduct. You’re likely already aware of its importance, and as a founder you’ll have done loads in the lead up to your launch. Maybe you think that’s enough and would never like to conduct any ever again. It may even remind you too much of your school days and that makes you shudder with dread. We’re here to change your mind.
To be dramatic for a moment: research can make or break you. Market research is all about gaining insight and the knowledge needed to become the leaders within your sector. If you go into it with just a wing and a prayer, it is more likely that you won’t be able to take off. If you’re throwing caution to the wind, like pasta to a tiled wall, you won’t stick. However, if you’re taking the steps to make sure everything you do is well-informed and instrumental to your growth in any form, you’re on your way to success. Research is the only way to ensure that your startup is kept informed and up to date.
For startups of all sizes, whether you’ve just began or been in the game for years, research can help all-around. If you’re wondering what you’re target audience is looking for and if your product is the solution, to if you’re wanting to expand your business and go global but are unsure if there’s any demand elsewhere, research is how you find out the answers.
There are so many different kinds you can conduct that it can feel daunting, but let’s go through the most dominant ones together.
The first method we’ll talk about that you can conduct is data collection and analysis, an obvious yet instrumental thing to do. This normally consists of examining data from databases, reports, financial records, and newsletters, among others. The information you gather from these can be used to gain valuable insight to the innerworkings of your startup in a quick manner. This kind of research is most helpful when you’ve got decisions to make and when it’s combined with other methods, you’re giving your startup the best foundation possible to grab success.
Now, one thing we know for certain is that you have a customer base filled to the brim with comments and insights they’re just itching to share. A way to get these is through surveys. As you’re aware, your customers want to feel heard and valued by a brand they’re supporting, so conducting surveys will be beneficial on both sides. Succinct surveys that get straight to the point (unlike this sentence) are more likely to be answered. Depending on the types of questions you ask, the answers you’ll receive can inform you on a wide variety of things.
You can get a nice little boost from all the comments about how great you’re doing, and how much better you are than your competitors. Or you’ll be informed on areas you could be doing better in and thus make changes which will help how fast you’re able to scale up. You’ll be able to find out if there’s any gaps in your marketing plans that customers would like to see from you in the future that you maybe haven’t thought about. There aren’t many downsides to conducting a survey, as they’re easy for both you and your customers to fill out and gather information from.
They can be released on a large cross-section of your target audience, with email surveys being the easiest to produce, and in return, you’ll be able provided with a lot of opinions and ideas. Whether you see this as a good or bad thing is another matter, and if surveys feel incredibly daunting still, this next research method might be for you…
Interviews and focus groups, while they may take more time to co-ordinate and conduct, they are (as the name suggests) more focused on one particular topic. This could be anything from branding, products, services, concepts, or anything else you may feel unsure on. We know that as soon as someone mentions focus groups, your brain will immediately conjure up scenes from various sitcoms where they always go wrong and someone, inevitably, gets thrown through the one-way screen. However, this will not be the case for yours. What you’ll get is the most valuable insight anyone has ever heard that will serve your growth.
If you’d like to bypass the talking-to-people research methods entirely, then what you can do instead is analyse your website traffic data. This is for the all-important and almost mythical practice of spotting trends and utilising keywords. Researching the traffic that comes to your website and what your consumers do whilst there can uncover some of the biggest mysteries of the consumer. Being aware of your demographic can lead you to find ones you’ve not even thought about reaching yet, that you wouldn’t have found without doing your research. From this, you can tailor content to reach new heights and expand your reach.
Analysing website traffic data already sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Well, it’s about to get even better.
Researching and understanding your demographic through this also helps you stay aware and on-top of what your competition is doing. You can use this information to your advantage and ensure your startup is the place your target audience goes to, instead of to someone else within your market. You can use this data to understand how your audience interacts with your website, which will highlight any areas that are or aren’t working, all of which will help you in the long run.
Keyword research is something that will be hammered into you for any content you create. When it comes to keywords and SEO rankings, it’s all about doing your research so you can provide users with quality content that answers their questions. To be able to tailor your content so it is useful and able to get in front of as many eyes as possible, you’ll need to understand who is there before you and how you can get above them. Finding out the keywords other startups in your industry use is a great start, so you can create content that utilises them in a better fashion, and through that research, you should be able to find keywords that are important but haven’t been used to their full optimisation yet. Creating great content for them will surely land you high in SEO rankings.
Once you’ve undertaken all this research, there’ll be no stopping your growth. Now go forth and research, research, research.